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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Mike Ballard (68.235.61.---)
Date: February 15, 2023 09:06AM

Just kidding of course and I did take two minutes to read the demographic article you linked to. Very interesting and does make a huge amount of sense. Maybe you do know what you are doing after all!

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: El Bolinger (---.bstnma.fios.verizon.net)
Date: February 15, 2023 10:46AM

That's also part of what I'm saying Tom and Mike- the next generation of 40 year olds will be accustomed to a certain level of tech. And on top of that it doesn't specify what kind of marketing has been wasted on recruiting younger builders - but I've seen practically zero on any place on the internet. So if you spent market dollars to send paper invitations to join the community then yes you absolutely wasted your money.

If you spent money at all without first exhausting the free marketing opportunities to create a larger community by reaching people under 40 then yes you wasted your money.

If you don't know how to reach the demographic under 40 then yes you wasted your money.

If you can successfully build an audience of people under 40 then you will see the difference- like I said about the magazine, any money spent towards marketing a paper printed magazine to anybody under 40 will be more wasted than not. Make it digital , learn how to speak to the next generation, and you'll see a difference.

As it stands rod building looks like it's only for people over 50, that doesn't make it look "cool." Not many people under 40 are trying to do what their grandfather does for fun because there's no way it's actually fun - he's just old. Chicken or egg my friend? Do old people play bingo because bingo is for old people or did old people start playing a young person's game and then young people thought it was for old people so they don't play (no offense to anyone who plays, I love bingo. )Plus I think it's more lack of awareness and understanding than anything.

But this is simply a misconception by younger people that its for old people, or that it's out of their reach economically or by skill limitations. It just hasn't been made "cool" to the next generation.

According the the US Census 48% of all anglers are between the ages of 16-44. You can say it's not worth your time and effort and marketing funds, and it probably isn't if you don't know how to market to the younger anglers. But I guarantee that out of the $89 Billion spent annually (and more since this survey was conducted I'm sure) that Billions of dollars are being missed by not marketing the right way to the current generation of young anglers - the next generation of builders - that is if they ever find out about it.

There used to be pet rocks Tom... rocks... that are a free resource... sold as pets.

It's all marketing and exposure. My buddy had only fished a few times in his life up until a few years ago, said it was dumb. Said it was boring. Said he didn't even wanna try it again, but I convinced him to just hang out with me and fish once. 5 combos, hundreds and hundreds of dollars on plastics and hard baits, and 1 jonboat later he's a fishing freak like me. And rod building is next for him I'm sure.

Market demographics don't change by accident, and if the goal is profit I understand that it's hard and often not lucrative to target less a less inclined audience - - - but I just want to see this community grow. I want to see more people enjoying another side of angling they might not even know is an option for them, which I think will lead to better anglers in the end anyway. I wish somebody sold me a magazine about building when I was 15, I'd have a much greater appreciation and understanding and skill and history for building than I do now. But at 32 I'm diving in and want to spread the word.

Regardless, the youth will hit 40 and 50 with different world views and experience and expectations than the current 40/50 year olds. They might have computer chips in their temples and holographic screens projected from implanted cybernetic contact lenses, but they'll be 40 and 50.

Building rods in MA, Building the community around the world

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: February 15, 2023 10:55AM

El,

Thanks for your insights. I've been in the industry for a long, long time and understand rod building demographics extremely well. Myself and others have spent the dollars and have the experience to know where we've been and where we're going and how best to reach the target audience. We've proven that. Few if any of the people who put the bulk of their eggs in the social media markets have been able to duplicate what myself and perhaps few others have done in this industry. And we're pretty astute when it comes to changing market trends.

.............

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Mike Ballard (---.ip-167-114-11.net)
Date: February 15, 2023 12:39PM

Hang in there Tom- maybe one day with enough effort you can make an impact on the custom rod building craft...

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Bob Foster (205.234.62.---)
Date: February 15, 2023 06:08PM

This is kinda sad,

El makes many good points and is being treated semi dismissively...

You won't change / expand your demographics if you never try to expand / change your demographics. I spend quite a bit of time on instagram and am amazed how many builders there are on there. At least some of them are on the less than geriatric side of life. It seems everyday there are new to me accounts popping up. One account and website that I am continually amazed by is "Ramon's Rods". This is a young man from the netherlands who makes his own rods and carbon fiber grips, including custom fitted carbon grips for the vss form factor. It needn't be social media verus forums because they are two parts of the same thing in this case...rodbuilding. They can compliment one another. I know for myself, with reference to the icrbe as an example, I am always looking for what's what and using the rodbuidling challenge as an example, there is little coverage of the rods and the builders and the event itself. The pics on the site are small format and I have had to fish all around the net to find pics of the rods....it's not easy to keep up on such things and maintaining a social media presence is truly a thing of work but one would also be foolish to not consider that this craft and the underpinnings of behind the scenes things should not morph with time. I will be embarrassed if there is a repository of the challenge rods in the photo forum (incidentally my profile on the photo section says I am unregistered, even though I am logged in and looking at my profile). Why doe you, Tom, refer to the social media markets as if they are some sort of competition to you? I'd love to see a rodmaker magazine account on instagram. I live in Canada can't buy the magazines, I've looked a few times for ways to do it, without luck....but it would be a cool thing to see rodmaker magazine on insta and it would also increase the odds that new people would buy them. Using #customrodbuilding on insta as an example there are 30,000 results / posts both in video and picture format. That's just one hashtag...

[ramonsrods.com]

He is just one example and I'm not sure how many others there may be out there. I know jack @#$%& about demographics but I do know a derisive / dismissive tone when I hear and read it. El has been very pro active here and seems very keen to be involved. I feel like Mike B in particular is bordering on offensive in his tone.....anyway....y'all need to be careful about throwing water on the young fires that may come along.

I truly value this forum and the craft I have stumbled into. I sent two offerings to the icrbe rodbuilding challenge even though I don't stand a snowballs chance in @#$%& of placing but I do understand the need for participation in such things or they dwindle and die. Things that also dwindle and die are things that they know it all. I used to be involved pretty heavily in custom motorcycle building and ended up down the rabbit hole far enough there to be building frames from scratch on a custom built surface table / jig. The old guard of bikers were very derisive of the younger guys when the reality was that many of the younger guys were very innovative and built some amazing bikes and parts.

This is my last build. I started out chopping up metric bikes and it culminated in this.....the young guys were always more encouraging and accepting of thinking outside the box....










I started out in the forums lurking in the wings and ended up with welders and jigs and tools and more broken motorcycles than I care to count...

Now...I find myself building rods for the last two years and merrily falling down a whole new rabbit hole. This forum has been a big part of that. But the tone and the format can be a little stale. The knowledge base is incredible but there is for sure an old school vibe to it.

Now I'm building these....my take on a contemporary fly rod.



I didn't mean for this to be a runaway and for me pics in this format are normal. We used to chronicle full bike builds in the bike forums and it would be cool to see here....a rod build chronicled from start to finish...but the vibe is that it would likely be discouraged. I could be wrong and am rambling now but this is my take.





I hope El sticks around. He kinda has reason not to if he were the sensitive type.

Imma step down off the soap box now

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: February 15, 2023 06:27PM

Social media isn't a competition to me at all. I use it! But you can only reach, at best, about 10% of this market with it. We have the research and data from the fishing industry to prove it. Those that won't spend money on direct mail and put all their eggs into the social media basket don't draw; their events remain small if even survive and they can't figure it out. I know why - the data is out there and I use it.

I don't think I've been dismissive, at least not on purpose, but in my position I can't just talk the talk, I have to walk the walk and I have done that even in the face of all those who have spent 26 years telling me that I don't know what I'm doing. When are they going to step up and match what I've done? I wish they would - it would be good for the craft. Please, put me out of business - I'd love to retire.

I have thanked El for his insights and comments. He has made some good points. But that's about all I can do on that end. In the meantime, I have to produce for my customers. Come to the Expo and see for yourself.

.............

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Mike Ballard (---.ip-54-39-107.net)
Date: February 15, 2023 07:23PM

I poke fun sometimes but try never to get nasty or personal. But I do wonder about who gives advice and what their credentials are. YouTube is a good example. There are some really good YT instructional videos and there are some awful ones to. You should ask "what is this person's credentials in this field?" So when I see somebody lecturing Tom on how to gain market share or "make an impact on custom rod building" I wonder if they are making a joke or just came late to the party. I like to add a tip now and then but I am not going to give advice on decorative thread weaving to Jim Upton or Doc Ski. I would not dare give advice on the best way to build bass rods to Rich Forhan. I would not tell Mark Crouse how to design one of kind theme rods. I would not tell Billy V. that I think he is wrong with his wrapping patterns. If the guys who enter those rods into the American Tackle rod building Expo challenge tell me how to do this or do that with wood or finish I will listen..... their work proves they know what they are doing. So get back to credentials and what certain people have actually done to prove they know their business. Speculation is easy but results are the proof that someone really knows what they are doing. Anything else is just an opinion and we all have one.

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: El Bolinger (---.bstnma.fios.verizon.net)
Date: February 15, 2023 09:32PM

@Bob I really appreciate it my man, I'm not the sensitive type and try not to he the reactive type either. I'd rather defend/advocate for the people and things I care about (rod building and the community now in that company) than get defensive. But it means a lot that you would step in on behalf of a fellow builder, that is the kind of comradery I'm trying to espouse in this community myself bro.

@Mike that's an appeal to authority- it's a logical fallacy that prevents people from listening to good ideas and good advice from people that don't have the reputation/credentials that others have. It also leads people to take some terrible and backwards advice from people who start their name with "Dr."

Look at Facebook and Amazon- in the beginning they were scoffed at as just being young guys who didn't know what they were talking about, dead wrong about the future of tech. I don't think that's me here, I'm just a regular guy who's not trying to start a tech revolution or shake the industry. But I'm not afraid to tell Billy I have a good idea for a wrap he might not have thought about (or that I think wraps in front of seats can have a negative impact on performance which I know he disgrees with [and I'll respect him and his disagreement]), I'm not afraid to tell Rich I have this strange idea for a build that I think he might like... if all the people who had great ideas but didn't feel worthy of saying anything or didn't feel they had the right or didn't feel it was their place or didn't think it was worth the risk all just kept their ideas to themselves we would live in a bleak world. We wouldn't have Rich, or Dale, or Gary, or bladed jigs, or many of the advancements in medicine or technologies that we have today in countless areas of our life.

Mike, I would encourage you to be bold and tell whoever it is your talking to about your idea - it might not be right, might not be wrong, might have already been thought of and shared by somebody else - but you also just might inspire somebody to try something they didn't think of or were hesitant to try.

The next Gary Loomis or Rich Forhan is not Gary Loomis or Rich Forhan - its some average Joe out there nobody has ever heard of until they take the risk necessary to be the next Loomis/Forhan. If they just let Gary be Gary and Rich be Rich we'll eventually run out, the torch has to get passed or the flame will snuff out.

@Tom we're good my man, I wasn't trying to tell you you were doing it wrong or don't know what you're doing. Wasn't telling you to take all your eggs out of one basket and put them in another, it started with us talking about the platform here and its tech capabilities and led to further discussion. I'm glad we were able to have this discussion. I think anytime there is open and honest and respectful discourse it benefits all who engage and all who overhear.

I just happen to have worked at some college campuses and high schools and middle schools over the past few years and see a gap and opportunity in the market to expand - if not for the sake of profit but for the sake of building the community. There are a few seniors at the high school I work at now who take fishing seriously, they even convinced the biology teacher to raise a bass in the tank in class. I've been trying to find a way to introduce them to building... circumstances just haven't lent themselves to that opportunity as of yet. And it's only a harder market to reach until it's not, like anything - even brining it back to Amazon- the industry leaders at the time said e-commerce would never work, nobody wants to buy things sight unseen.. until the risks were taken and market was reached.

Half of the entire sport/recreational fishing demographic is under the age of 50 - that's half of the almost $100,000,000,000 market, if I had money to make I'd take the risk for the hard to reach market share, until then I'll just try to convince those kids it's an awesome cool hobby to get into because it is and they'll spend their money where they will... and they will.

Grace and peace,
El

Building rods in MA, Building the community around the world

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Daryl Ferguson (---)
Date: February 15, 2023 11:47PM

I learned something today, something I try to do every day. I learned, as a 58 year old new rod builder, I’m but a rod building data point that falls squarely within the bell curve.

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: El Bolinger (---.bstnma.fios.verizon.net)
Date: February 16, 2023 01:56AM

@Daryl don't believe the hype! We're not defined by the boxes people put us in. Paint the box, cut and glue the box into a rocket ship, burn the box (but get out first ;)

You're more than a data point to me my friend, but we can also say that a Van Gough painting is nothing more than an array of data points that have been connected and arranged to make the beauty we see in the museum- we're data points together that make the beauty of the world we live in.

It's all about perspective, and just to add a motto I try to live by is "nobody is one thing or one way" people like to sum others up in phrases like "he's a jerk" "she's crazy" or by their color or by some si gle aspect of their character or by one instance of their life where some people write others off because of one bad exchange- that person I'd more than the thing they said to you. That person is more than the thing they did that hurt you. Doesn't make it okay or right, but people are dynamic creatures.

Perhaps your comment didn't necessarily warrant my response, but I just happened to have a bit of an introspective night tonight and watched a YouTube video of screenwriter John Kaufman wherein he said he used to define himself as a writer, or desperately desired for himself to be called one, but now as a successful writer finds himself actually more reluctant to accept that label.

I realized two things, that has always been how I've felt (in his taking in that label of writer early on) and that I've done so paradoxically as I've tried to live by that motto for quite some time now that nobody is one thing. This internal dissonance was the white noise drowning out the calls from within to move forward and I never knew it. I created so much pressure to be a writer that I have barley written much at all in years, along with some other life circumstances that contributed to that as well I believe, but the former reasons only realized as I've been typing this response.

Perhaps this response wasn't for you after all, perhaps I just needed to see myself say it and remind me I'm more than the thing I think I am.

Grace and peace,
El

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Daryl Ferguson (---)
Date: February 16, 2023 07:37PM

EI, it was more of a tongue in cheek comment as I got a chuckle out of the "most new rod builders are older" comment someone posted earlier in the thread.

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Josh Bryan (---.tpgi.com.au)
Date: March 15, 2023 06:05AM


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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Lynn Behler (---.44.66.72.res-cmts.leh.ptd.net)
Date: March 17, 2023 09:24PM

There's room for improvement in anything.

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Mark Brassett (---)
Date: March 18, 2023 06:20AM

Tom, I registered a week or two ago for the photo section and didn't receive a confirmation. It shows me logged in but I don't see an "upload" function. I figured it is something that just takes time but after reading this thread I believe maybe I just missed the confirmation. I've been using Postimage for the occasional pic I post here but I'd rather use this gallery.

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Mark Brassett (---)
Date: March 18, 2023 06:48AM

BTW El, I like your writing style. You should consider writing fishing related stories on this forum. Maybe an ongoing novel or a series of short stories for our enjoyment. Git it a shot.

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Robert A. Guist (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: March 18, 2023 12:26PM

Hello Mark.

It should be at the top by: Home | Member List | My Photos | My Favorites | Profile | Upload Photos | no messages | Log Out |

Hope This Helps.

Tight Wraps & Tighter Lines.

Bob,

New Bern, NC.

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Mark Brassett (---)
Date: March 18, 2023 01:06PM

Robert, I have everything but the Upload Photo

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Robert A. Guist (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: March 18, 2023 01:25PM

Hi Mark.

You've reached the end of my expertise, good luck.


Tight Wraps & Tighter Lines.

Bob,

New Bern, NC.

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: March 18, 2023 01:37PM

Mark Brassett Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Robert, I have everything but the Upload Photo


You have to register and log-in on the photo page. It's not part of this forum.

........

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Re: Picture?
Posted by: Mark Brassett (---)
Date: March 18, 2023 03:26PM

I did that, Tom. I got the message that I would be getting a confirmation but never did it seems.

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